AHR asked me to comment on his analysis [more intensive stuff than mine, honest!] on the Ocean Waves film. It made me realize it’s been two years since I’ve watched the movie: it was high time for a re-watch. I’m glad I did, because I was also finally able to figure out the previously quizzical parts of the movie and contextualize it within the film. I am very slow sometimes, especially when the movie appeals more to my emotions than to my head: this was the case with Ocean Waves, and this was the reason that despite previous re-watches, I couldn’t understand some parts near the film’s end.
Before I delve into the nitty-gritty of the film, however, let me first elaborate on the film’s history. It was directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, director of House of Five Leaves. He was an upstart back then, and the film was done to showcase the ability of the animation students. While it spent more than its budget and went past its deadline, the result (at least to me) is a brilliant departure from most Studio Ghibli films: unlike the imaginative realms and worlds of Spirited Away or Totoro, the film was founded and grounded on human reality. This was a story devoid of the ostentation of other Ghibli offerings: it was down-to-earth, minimalistic, and realist in perspective. In other words, it was an aberration, a deviation.
It is beautiful because of its masterful execution and a working policy of its minimalism: more often than not, it shows, not tells. Morisaki never explicitly voices out how he takes his friendship with Matsuno seriously, but it shows in one of the earliest scenes of the movie: when Matsuno told him to come after he’s finished with his work, he instead immediately rushes to him with little regard for his employer’s and co-workers’ perceptions. One can always tell one’s friends when one is in trouble as to whether they are fair-weathered or true friends. I think the same occurred with Morisaki: when he stood up against an unreasonable decision by the school, only Matsuno was there with him. The rest of his friends didn’t come along.(more…)